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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

U.S. Rep. Lawrence Delivers Floor Speech Advocating for American Jobs Plan, Investments In Water Infrastructure, and Removal of Lead Pipes

June 23, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) delivered a speech on the House floor about the need for President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan, which includes a significant investment to fix our nation’s water infrastructure and replace lead pipes and service lines. Rep. Lawrence has been an outspoken leader in Congress on increasing access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. In February, Rep. Lawrence reintroduced the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability (WATER) Act of 2021 which is a comprehensive solution that creates a WATER Trust Fund, dedicates nearly $35 billion towards water infrastructure improvements across the United States, and replaces lead service lines. Provisions of the Water Act are included in the American Jobs Plan.

To view or download the video, click here.

Text of Rep. Lawrence’s speech can be found below:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of a much-needed investment in our nation’s infrastructure—specifically our water infrastructure.

“Let me be very clear: our crumbling and outdated water infrastructure is in a state of emergency.

“It’s leaving our most vulnerable Americans struggling with water access and unaffordable rates, including in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

“I want to commend President Biden and my colleagues for promoting the American Jobs Plan, a comprehensive federal investment to repair and strengthen our infrastructure.

“And this could not be more timely as federal investment in public water infrastructure projects has fallen from 63 percent of our overall investment in 1977 to just 9 percent in 2014.

“The American Jobs Plan will deliver the investments we need and eliminate the lead pipes and service lines in our drinking water systems.

“It’s unacceptable that in the United States of America, schools are forced to put plastic bags over their drinking fountains because it’s not safe for children to drink water because there are elevated levels of lead. 

“Too much of our existing infrastructure is jeopardized because of lead pipes.

“And my home state of Michigan knows about this issue all too well.

“The Flint Water Crisis brought national attention to the dangers of elevated levels of lead in drinking water.

“Unfortunately, what happened in Flint is happening all across our country.

“In my district, the same problem exists in the City of Detroit.

“About 1,500 children under the age of 6 test positive for elevated levels of lead every year, and of those tested, about 7 percent are diagnosed with lead poisoning.

“Congress cannot stand by and watch Amercians get sick and poisoned from their own drinking water.

“And I always like to emphasis, water is not a luxury. A pothole is an inconvenience, but water is a necessity to life. 

“We have the opportunity to address this issue right now by passing the American Jobs Plan.

“It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in our communities and families. 

“It also includes provisions similar to those in my legislation, the WATER Act. 

“My bill would: Fully fund the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds;

“Provide funding for public schools to test and replace drinking water infrastructure;

“Provide grants to replace lead service lines leading to our households;

And much more to fix and strengthen our water infrastructure.

“Earlier this Congress, I submitted Community Project Funding requests to support water system improvements for two communities in my district, Pontiac and Royal Oak Township. 

“These communities are not alone—similar water system improvement projects are needed across the country.

“With the American Jobs Plan, we can make that a reality.

“I look forward to continuing to fight for access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water for every American.

“I yield back.”